Woman who suffer from urinary incontinence are constantly looking for better options to help them live it.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many attractive or comfortable ones to choose from.    And it’s not a small problem; Des Moines urologists report that urinary incontinence affects as many as 50% of middle-aged and elderly women.

Incontinence, which is defined as the involuntary loss of urine, is generally described as either stress incontinence, urge incontinence or mixed incontinence.

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the symptom of accidental urine leakage that occurs with physical exertion, sometimes with something as simple as standing up, laughing, coughing, jumping or exercising.

Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) is the symptom of urine seepage that is directly preceded by a sudden, forceful desire to urinate that results in leakage. It can occur when a woman runs her hands under running water or without any provoking event at all.

Mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) is the combination of the two.

The causes of SUI can include:

  • Pregnancy and/or childbirth;
  • Obesity;
  • Smoking,
  • Muscle damage,
  • Trauma;
  • Aging.

Often, the cause of urinary frequency and urgency is not known.  However, the causes can include drinking bladder irritants, neurological diseases, spinal cord injury or Parkinson’s disease.

There are many treatment options for incontinence, but the best treatment for each individual woman depends on factors such as the type and severity of incontinence.

As an initial treatment option, Des Moines urologists will often prescribe pelvic floor exercises such as Kegel – which are isolated pelvic floor muscle contractions – for stress urinary incontinence.

The most common treatment of SUI is an outpatient procedure that involves a mesh sling being surgically placed under the urethra for support or an injection of a bulking agent into the urethra.

Treatment for urinary urgency, frequency and/or urge incontinence initially includes behavior modification such as:

  • Reducing the consumption of bladder irritants,
  • Limiting the amount of fluid you consume,
  • Making sure to not hold it too long.

These modifications are often combined with prescription medication and pelvic physical strengthening.

If these treatment options fail or a woman cannot tolerate the side effects of the medication, Botox may be an appropriate third choice.

If you are dealing with any type of incontinence, consider talking to your Des Moines urologist about available options.